TEN gold producers have agreed to buy 60 percent shareholding in Fidelity Printers and Refiners, an arm of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), for US$49 million, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.
Last year, the central bank resolved to cede controlling stake in the country’s sole gold buyer and refinery to producers to boost compliance levels in the trading of the precious mineral.
It is estimated that gold worth millions of United States dollars is being smuggled out of the country every month as producers and dealers search for better prices.
Fidelity, which is also responsible for printing and minting Zimbabwe’s local currency, will first have to be split into two before the gold buying and refining side of the business is sold.
Once split, the RBZ will cede a 60 percent stake of the gold buying and refining business to miners, a model similar to the Rand Refinery, South Africa’s biggest refinery, which is owned by some of that country’s biggest gold producers.
The central bank will remain with 40 percent in the gold refinery company and 100 percent in the printing, minting and gold financing business.
“Ten shareholders have so far accepted to take shareholding in Fidelity Gold Refinery at a total consideration of US$49 million,” said Minister Ncube while presenting the 2021 Budget review statement.
The central bank has also disposed of two of its assets, Tuli Coal and Transload, the Mt Hampden bio-diesel to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and Innovation respectively, said professor Ncube.
Recently, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education and Innovation Professor Amon Murwira said plans were underway to run the bio-diesel plant.
The Mount Hampden bio-diesel plant was built in 2008 when the country sought to reduce fuel shortages and cut the fuel import bill.
Situated about 20 kilometres north-west of Harare, the plant, which cost about US$13 million,never operated on a commercial basis due to a limited supply of jatropha seed.
Until its transfer, it was under the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.
The plant has the capacity to produce up to 100-million litres of bio-diesel per annum when fully integrated and supported by sufficient feedstock.